Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Categorized: Free for All Friday

The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.
The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.

We’ve been talking about some heavy stuff the past several posts, so I figured it was time for a bit of levity. We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve learned that regular people are cute, and no longer get offended with this conversation.

Regular Person: What do you do?

Writer: I’m a writer.

Regular Person: No, I mean, what’s your real job?

You’ve come to understand that writers are a lot like unicorns. Everyone knows about them, they’ve simply never seen a REAL ONE.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

The NSA, CIA and FBI no longer bother with you. Likely, they know you by name and now outsource to the creepy ice cream truck to just make a few passes and check to make sure you’re still at your computer.


You Know You’re a Writer When…

When it comes to revisions, you actually contemplate hanging one of those cheap pine tree air fresheners around your neck because bathing or showering or eating or changing clothes will interrupt your mojo.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re on such a roll with the WIP that you’ve forgotten a “real” world exists (including laundry). You’re down to wearing your husband’s socks and he’s either going commando or is forced to wear that thong given to him on his 40th birthday as a joke gift. The kids? Hell, they went feral a week ago.

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You Know You’re a Writer When…

You take a break from writing to go to the store and, on the way, begin untangling a plot problem. You finally realize you’re in the next state and have no idea how you got there. But good news is, you now know which poison is best to kill off the character modeled after that cheerleader who bullied you through high school. It’s the poison that will make her fat and wrinkly before she dies slowly from terminal acne.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You appreciate that if Febreeze is good enough for the couch, why not hose the preschooler? Hey, you spent extra for the anti-microbial one. It kills germs *rolls eyes*. Now your tot smells like a Hawaiian Breeze and his cooties can’t hurt others. You should get a freaking MEDAL for this kind of creativity.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve been diagnosed with Tourette’s, Multiple-Personality Disorder or both. It’s tough to explain you were simply working out dialogue when strapped to a gurney. But the upside is when they sedate you, it’s the only vacation you’ve had in months and insurance might even cover it. SCORE!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re no longer invited to family events because they can’t take the incessant correction of their grammar.

Chickens are done, people are FINISHED.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re automatically safe from any episode of Hoarders because when you get enough books? Others naturally assume you’re a LIBRARY. Hey, maybe you can apply for government funding. Scratch that. Then, you’d have to let people borrow your books.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You willingly suffer frostbite hiding in a grocery freezer eavesdropping a couple’s fight, because dialogue that epic is worth a losing pinkie toe. Your coffee table’s already tried to assassinate it 342 times anyway.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve been mistaken for Gollum multiple times, because strangers found you in a dark corner whispering “My precious….” and it was just you and your Kindle.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You plow over the entire Kardashian family, because OMG there’s DEAN KOONTZ!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Your idea of fun is reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, talking to your friends at the Coroner’s office or reading/writing Amazon reviews of the Bic Pen for Her or the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Speaking of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, you actually bought one, not only to support the greatest comedic writing in human history, but also to screw with the TSA. Can you get it through airport security without a full-body search? Hide it near your shoulders and FREE NECK MASSAGE!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve made it onto the Mormon and Jehova’s Witness DO NOT CALL LIST because you will only promise to convert with purchase of YOUR BOOKS (and favorable 5-star reviews).

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You watch the reality show Oddities and recognize your friends and a few members of your critique group. “Hey, are they buying that used straight-jacket and shrunken head for me? Awww, how thoughtful…”

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Every time some overblown Third World dictator threatens to destabilize the world, all you can think is, “Pfft. Amateur.”

Have any to add? I know you do. So, “You Know You’re a Writer When….”

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Benjamin Watson.
Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Benjamin Watson.

We’ve been rather serious this week discussing the business side of the writing business. Today, we’re going to take off on a bizarre tangent another topic, namely because I haven’t slept in days and why put all this insomnia to waste?

I feel a lot like That 70s Show, the episode when the group decided to record all the “brilliant” ideas they got when they were stoned in the basement. Ideas that later…?


Some of my ideas (concocted at 4:00 a.m.) seemed sheer genius at the time when I was held fast in the grip of sleep-deprivation. Then later? Upon reflection, they were completely asinine didn’t make the cut. Namely my idea for a 24 hour manicure-pedicure spa, for people like me who COULDN’T GET TO SLEEP.

At least we could get our toes done :D.

Then, I decided that when I made it big, the car of my dreams would be a WIZARD VAN. Hey, mobile bookstore and a guaranteed way to keep The Spawn from dating until he’s over thirty.

You know you’ve hit a new low when you’re shopping for a panel van with a Star Wars mural at three in the morning.

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Yet, 24 Hour Mani-Pedi Spas and panel vans aside, I did take some time to think through the whole E.L. James 50 Shades thing, putting my sleep-addled brain to unraveling one of the greatest mysteries of our times.

I have a couple confessions. First, as an author and recovered editor, every time I hear the buzz about 50 Shades of Grey being a runaway success, I want to throw myself in traffic. All the craft classes, the conferences, the research and people really want to read books about THIS? My second confession is I haven’t actually read 50 Shades of Grey. Hey, only so much time in the day and my job requires a lot of reading and research, and this genre?

“Not my beer,” as the Dutch like to say.

Yet, it didn’t stop me from wondering, why are these books so popular, especially with modern women? Why is there a virtual explosion in a genre that involves advanced skills in knot-tying and requires a leather-cleaning kit? What makes college-educated modern women who are taking the world by storm gravitate to wanting to be “enslaved”?

Why isn’t there enough NyQuil to get me to SLEEP?

Sorry, got off-topic there.

Prepare to play armchair psychiatrist. I am not a real psychiatrist, but I do play one on the Internet. My credentials? 1) Being a modern woman 2) possessing empathy 3) I once took a Feminist Politics class in college.

Reason #1—The Culture Shift

I think it’s fairly common knowledge that the individuals who gravitate to wanting to be dominated are often the powerful. Judges, politicians, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc. have a lot of responsibility. When we’re boss, everyone comes to us for answers and looks to us to be in charge. Thing is? While being in charge is great, it can also be exhausting.

I’ve been through two agents, and both times I waited far too long to part ways. Why? I was tired of thinking and being in charge *whiiiiiine* I wanted someone to order me around and tell me what to do.

“Yes, Master Agent, I will rewrite that chapter. I’m a BAD, BAD WRITER!”

***Clearly, both agents made lousy “Tops”.

I imagine if we had a time-machine and zoomed back to 1950, no one would drop by the house and wonder why a man’s wife didn’t have a job.

“What? Your little woman’s baking pies, changing diapers, and ironing your shirts? Why doesn’t she have a REAL job?”

We gals were in charge of house, kids, cooking, and laundry. We were on the PTA and baked cookies and made costumes for school plays. In 1952, women were accustomed to thousands of years of being ordered around, so safe to say we wouldn’t have wanted more of that in the bedroom. Yet, as the glass ceiling shattered and more women took on traditionally male roles? We began to see a shift.

“I can open my OWN door, thank you.”

***Subtext—But feel free to tie me up me later.****

Many women are in charge of pretty much EVERYTHING, whether we want to be or not. Even though most women work full-time, we’re still largely responsible for child-rearing and household duties. Trust me, (and maybe it’s because I AM in Texas), if someone comes over to the house and notices it’s so filthy the CDC needs to do a drop-by? My tail is on the line. NO ONE is going to look to my husband and ask why he didn’t help do more chores.

My toddler attends nursery school and the school still asks ME to hand-make costumes for plays for a three-year-old. Really. Sure, let me fit that into my meetings, deadlines, blogs, books and traveling. Yet, when my kid shows up for the play wearing a Batman shirt instead of dressed as a caterpillar? Nobody asks Hubby why he didn’t break out the sewing machine and hot glue gun.

No, it isn’t fair, but fair is a weather condition.

Reason #2—The Whole “Less Thinking Thing”

No, I don’t read erotica, but I am guilty of having an addiction to celebrity magazines. Modern women are using their brains more than ever, and sure that sounds insulting, but  bear with me.

Just Host wants my website to have a password with two uppercase letters, a symbol, punctuation, a number and a clever emoticon embedded within. I have to reset my password almost every time I log in. My brain is exhausted.


Because EVERYONE wants us to do this crap. I have passwords for my passwords and no idea what I did with the electric bill and why is the toddler suddenly quiet and am I wearing my bra on the outside of my shirt?

Sometimes the “grey” matter just needs a break.

Why do you think I’m blogging about this stuff?

Reason #3—It’s Just Too Hard to Kick Your Own @$$

I think a lot of modern women (especially those who happen to be moms) live in a state of perpetual guilt. For instance, my toddler knows his colors, his numbers and can even read…but potty training? I might as well be trying to teach him Advanced Particle Physics. I vacillate between, “Hey, not too bad. He’s pretty smart” and “OH DEAR GOD I SO SUCK AND MY CHILD MIGHT BE RETARDED.”

Yes, I am a #1 best-selling author, but the closets are a DISASTER and the dust bunnies have started a Hippie Commune in the garage and I swear I OWN scissors. I’ve bought 54 pairs! Where the hell have they all gone?

***My husband loses NO sleep over these things, btw.

Inside I know I’m a failure, but maybe it would just be cathartic and allow me to move forward if I could be handcuffed and told, “You’ve been bad. I saw inside your fridge and know you didn’t finish the laundry. Tell me you’re a bad wife!”

Didn't I just WASH these? BAD WIFE!
Didn’t I just WASH these? BAD WIFE!

Me: “I’m a BAD, BAD GIRL! I know! I haven’t sorted baby toys from the toddler toys! Yes, there are newborn clothes still in my child’s closet! I’M A BAD MOM! PUNISH ME!”

Then I can cry, confess and move on.

See? 50 Shades demystified! And y’all thought women were complicated (ok we are O_o).

What are your thoughts? Ever been in the clutches of insomnia and bombarded with “brilliant” ideas? Are you a modern woman riddled with nonsensical guilt? A modern dad? Am I on to something, that maybe we just want someone else to make a decision or…20?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS: I have a class coming up August 21st, I am running a Your First Five Pages webinar. Bronze is $40 and Gold is $55 (I look at your first five pages) and use WANA15 for 15% off.

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all...
Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all…

Many people run across the #MyWANA on Twitter or WANA on Facebook and ask, “What is WANA?” Boy, that is a BIG question to answer. It all began with a simple book to help writers understand social media. I recall talking about potential titles with my editor Jen Talty (at WDW Publishing, now Cool Gus Publishing).

WANA the Book

I’d been wracking my brain trying to think of a title that encapsulated the message I wanted others to hear, what I wanted them to feel. Then Jen asked an important question that changed everything, “Kristen, what do you want others to feel when they read your book?”

I replied, “I want them to know they are not alone.”

So much about writing is solitary, and many of us experience alienation and even outright animosity from those closest. I recall my early writing journey being very, very lonely and it was easy to become overwhelmed and depressed and consider giving up.

When I realized social media would be a game-changer, I wondered, “How can one writer  do ALL that is necessary?” Then I realized we couldn’t. We needed a family, a community of support.

WANA the Community

I wish I’d been smart enough to see what WANA would eventually become, but I wasn’t responsible for taking WANA to the next level. Writers started referring to themselves as WANAs. They met in person in their cities. They sought out conferences where they could meet and spend time with these digital friends they’d come to love.

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Piper Bayard and I are WINNING at DWFWWCon…

I know that most of the friends I love would never have been in my life had it not been for WANA. Why? Because writers need more than writing tips and marketing, and promotion. They need emotional support. They need help when times were hard, or when they have to pull away from social media for revisions.

More WANA Cowbell in SoCal…
WANAs can be spotted. We are where the FUN is!
WANAs can be spotted. We are where the FUN is!
WANAs at Huntington Beach...
WANAs at Huntington Beach…

Soon, WANAs started trading help. When one had a deadline and couldn’t blog, other WANAs stepped in and offered guest posts to keep the writer’s blog living and thriving.

WANA the Family

Then we had a WANA, author Myndi Schafer who was VERY pregnant when she took one of my blogging classes. Her due date was closing and guess what? The WANAs were there. They took over her blog, tweeted for her, kept up with her, checked on her and let her know she was not alone.

Myndi and first WANA Baby
Myndi and first WANA Baby

Later, another WANA started an on-line business. Just about the time it was taking off, she was broad-sided by an eighteen-wheeler and hospitalized for quite some time. One day I got a message. She was ecstatic. When she finally returned home, she expected all she’d built to be in ruins, but while she was recovering, other WANAs had risen to the occasion to help and not let her platform wither away.

WANA Tasha Turner.
WANA Tasha Turner.

WANAs have cheered for each other’s successes, celebrated births and anniversaries. We have been there to support WANAs who had critically ill family members. Hey, is there anything I can do? Can I help you? Just here to let you know you are loved. You are not alone.

It’s hard to say how many WANAs there are, because I seem to run into them everywhere and it is always an amazing and simultaneously humbling experience.

WANAs in The Big Apple
WANAs in The Big Apple

Recently, I was having dinner with two WANAs in a small suburb of Denver. We were sitting outside enjoying gluten-free pasta (I swear all WANAs are GF, LOL) and my voice tends to carry.

Okay, I am loud naturally. Comes from being half-deaf :D.

Out of nowhere a woman walking by with two children stops at our table, and says, “OMG! I’m a WANA. It’s Julie Hedlund!”

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)
What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

WANA the Warriors

Today, I want to call the WANAs together for an amazing and special woman (a WANA), Susie Lindau. The thing about WANA is you meet people who make you better than you ever imagined you could be. WANA is about love, community and service above self, so I find it attracts the most beautiful, thoughtful people. You will meet people who are always smiling, even in the face of fear. They will love you even if they’ve never met you and fight for you when they have to.

Susie Lindau is facing breast cancer and she is one of the funniest, most incredible people I’ve been honored to know. She is a true WANA. She’s using her battle as a message to let women facing this disease to know they are not alone. So please check out her blog The Boob Report. She’s having surgery today, and will be going through a radical double mastectomy. If you have a moment and use Twitter, please tweet her some WANA love and well-wishes at #SusieStrong.

Oh, by the way, I wasn’t smart enough to think of that either. Other WANAs got together and made a plan to let Susie know how much we love her and I am just the messenger. They e-mailed me their plan to support Susie, which is why they ROCK.

This is the thing WANAs do and it is why I am so proud of them every day (and yes I am crying as I write this).

Alone is Hell

In 2003 I was misdiagnosed with epilepsy. The medications gave me pneumonia and I was so weak I couldn’t get off the couch. I had no close family and since I’d worked three years on the road, I had no friends. Not able to breathe or move, I withered down to where I wore children’s clothing which I didn’t have the strength to change often. I recall laying in the dark and wanting to die because the crushing feeling of being alone was worse than the illnesses I was fighting.

My mom finally pushed her way in and wouldn’t leave my side. It took months to recover and I doubt I would have had she not stuck to me like a burr.

The WANA World

I only tell you this story because it was my motive behind the type of world I wanted to create. I wanted to create a way that no one would have to be alone. Whether it was something as simple as encouragement to make word count, or a digital family that could be there to send love, prayers and support during sickness or tragedy, that was the community I wanted to be a part of.

The WANAs were there when I got the news my husband was being deployed to Afghanistan. They offered for me to come visit, or for them to come visit me. And the WANAs were there for me when my son was terribly injured. He had all his front teeth smashed into the maxilla and needed emergency surgery. (He is fine now, just looks like an adorable little bat).

Poor Spawn...
Poor Spawn…

I cannot tell you how overwhelming it is sometimes to have once been a person with no friends, to becoming a person who has more friends than she could have ever dreamed of, people of the highest quality. People better than me who make me better. This post does no justice to how much I love the WANAs. What started as a book title became so much more than I could have envisioned.

We’re a cult um, family 😀

WANA Lynn Kelly, really is a superhero.
WANA Lynn Kelly, really is a superhero.

So please show Susie’s blog some love. Tweet some support at #SusieStrong. Anyone with love to share and spare can be a WANA. There is no official membership, just a very special mission. Love. Only a big heart required.

WE LOVE YOU, SUSIE. You are NOT alone!

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Meme from Facebook

I wasn’t going to blog at all this week. Have been taking a break and refueling. But when I came in from being away for a week, one of the first articles I saw was regarding Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries’ “marketing campaign” for the preppy clothing line (quoted in the meme above).

Jeffries is being hailed by some marketing experts as a brilliant visionary, but I wonder how he would be perceived if he was excluding people of color or sexual orientation. What would people think if he only wanted “white kids” or “straight people” wearing his clothing line?

Don’t get me wrong, A&F has the right to define their demographic, but we as consumers have a right not to buy clothes from such an uncreative designer that has such a warped vision of beauty and a skewed sense that Skinny=Popular & Cool. Even Perez Hilton weighed in on this matter.

A&F’s marketing campaign is as deep as a puddle, so as a former copy writer, I thought that maybe I could offer some assistance:

We at Abercrombie & Fitch are seriously uncreative fashion designers. It takes true talent to make larger people look equally amazing, and we simply lack that skill and prefer to take the easy route. Hey, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to make a Size 00 woman look attractive, but to design clothes that make a size 14 woman look just as hot? Wow. We’d totally have to go back to school for that, and then we wouldn’t have time to spray our cologne all over the mall like a crop-duster.

I know this might seem strange, but I don’t think I am all that offended that they don’t carry larger sizes. A lot of stores don’t. But these other stores are at least smart enough not to use Mean Girls Marketing.

The Real Problem with Abercrombie and Fitch

What is troubling about A&F’s stance is that body size is somehow equivalent with beauty, a great attitude and popularity. If you are over a size 10, then clearly you can’t possess any of these qualities. Conversely, if you are so thin you disappear when you turn sideways, then you must be AWESOME and have it all together.

I think Jeffries’ stance hurts all kids on all ends of the size spectrum.

I was never a cool kid *shock face*. I know!

I was the geek who none of the A&F crowd noticed until they needed help with their Chemistry or Physics homework. High school was very hard for me. I owned three pairs of pants and four shirts and it didn’t take long for the A&F crowd to hone in on this. Many of them made it their life mission to point out I wasn’t like them and that I was not much better than gum on the bottom of their Cole Haan shoes.

In my experience, the people who wore these clothes weren’t popular because they were awesome people; they were popular because they ruled the school like Machiavelli. They were pretty on the outside, but mean to the core. Why?

Hurting people hurt people.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized their behavior stemmed from a profound brokenness. If they didn’t have the trendy clothes, if they were so FAT they had to wear a SIZE SIX, they had no identity. They had to purchase it. The labels promised what they had no power to deliver…meaning. Authentic identity.

While kids like me were having fun making our own bad Kung Fu movies and holding all-night Monty Python marathons with fellow members of the Chess Team, those “cool” kids were puking in the shower, drinking themselves into a stupor, or snorting cocaine so they wouldn’t get too fat for their designer clothes.

Yes, There is the Obvious

I know a lot of us are offended by Jeffries’ attitude toward those of us with a fair share of fluff. That’s easy to be angry about. We know this country is facing an obesity epidemic and we do have to get that under control.

Being too overweight creates all kinds of health problems, but there are plenty of amazing, beautiful, intelligent, kind, wonderful people who can’t fit into A&F clothes.

Yet, I don’t think this is the most insidious part of the A&F message.

Labels Lie and People Die

For years, I was naive (like Jeffries). In high school and college, I wanted so much to be like those “cool” kids. Yet, years later, I was astonished how many of the “popular kids” were dead. Some were homeless because of hopeless drug addiction. Others were in and out of rehab and mental facilities.

So many of the kids I assumed to be the “All-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends” committed suicide because death was the only way they could see to end their inner suffering so cleverly disguised by distressed denim.

Why did these kids choose to end their own life?

No designer label could give them what they so desperately needed—love, meaning, and genuine connection.

I was guilty. I’d bought into the marketing lie—that these kids with these clothes have everything. Now, being older and wiser, I am deeply saddened. What if I’d had the courage to cross the A&F line and realize that “cool guy” was hurting? Would he still be alive?

His Name was Matt

I cry every time I think of him (crying now as I write this). I had such a crush on him, but I didn’t have the right (clothes) to talk to him. I didn’t have enough money to be his friend, or the right “look” to be his girlfriend.

And Matt committed suicide and I’m angry. I will never be able to tell Matt how awesome I really thought he was. I couldn’t see beyond his clothes to notice his drinking and drug problem. I was blinded by the glare of his designer label, the glare that hid the growing darkness that was consuming him. I took his A&F clothes at face value. They became a barrier I couldn’t cross.

Hey, he’s wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, so everything in HIS world is FABULOUS.

Her Name was Adrian

She was a cheerleader, and I was afraid to talk to her. She died because she drank so much alcohol, she asphyxiated in her sleep. She drank to numb the pain hiding behind her trendy clothes; pain none of us saw.

This Crisis Runs Far Deeper than a Box of Krispy Kremes

I believe we are a country in crisis, not only because we struggle with our weight. We are in crisis because we are too easily drawn into the lie. Thin and beautiful people hurt, struggle and are lonely, too. An $80 t-shirt can’t fill the void. Just go to author and former fashion model August McLaughlin’s blog and she talks about this very issue.

I believe Abercrombie & Fitch has every right to limit their market. They have the right to believe their clothes are only for the pretty people. BUT, they do not have the right to define our humanity.

To all of my Fellow Fluffies…

Y’all are awesome and Jeffries is an @$$clown. You are beautiful and every one of you have something special to offer this world. Ignore idiots. Don’t buy the lie that you aren’t special because you can’t wear their clothes.

BUT, don’t buy the lie that those who sport the A&F line are okay. Some of them are profoundly wounded. The designer label could be their way to hide the hurting and broken person below.

To all of the Beautiful People

Yes, we love looking at pictures of you. Being beautiful and thin on the outside is a gift and one you can be proud of. I hope you will be as saddened by Jeffries’ stance as I am. You are more than your Size 2 jeans.

Many of you are artistic, creative, intelligent, kind and good and that should matter. You are awesome on your own without A&F’s help. For Jeffries to assume his clothes make you YOU should just be insulting.

Dare to Cross the A&F Line

I end with this this letter to Abercrombie & Fitch, which says it all. I know that the good life, the rich life is discovered when we look for beauty everywhere. The world is filled with it, and often it isn’t wearing a pair of overpriced capris. I challenge each and every one of us to be brave enough to cross that A&F line—either defect from it, or reach out in spite of it.

What are your thoughts? Were you as upset and saddened by Jeffries’ message as I was? To the popular crowd, are you insulted that Jeffries assumes his clothes is what makes you worthwhile?

Were you the geek who struggled to fit in? What are your thoughts about this growing narcissism we’re seeing? The rise of body dysmorphia? What do you think is dangerous about this consumer culture? To the parents out there, what does this make you feel in regards to your children?

Or, am I out of line? Am I reading too much into this. Hey, I AM a writer. We over-think almost EVERYTHING :D. Feel free to disagree, I just ask you do it respectfully.

I love hearing from you!

And yes, comments count for my contest, but I am not mentioning my books here because this issue is not to market me, but rather to talk about a growing problem we all need to address.

We are not alone.

Kristen Lamb, Author Kristen Lamb, zombie
Walking Dead? Wait for the end of November, LOL

Whenever I travel, I have a number of fears.

1) The ONE time I don’t leave my home clean enough to perform open heart surgery will, of course, be the trip where I die in a fiery crash. Thus, as a good luck talisman of sorts, I have this compulsive need to make sure every stitch of dirty laundry is clean and put away. It’s my psychotic-and-pretty-much-fully-delusional-insurance against plane crashes.

2) If I wear cute, impractical shoes, the plane will have to make an emergency landing in some desert and then I will have to hump it out of Death Valley in those Betsey Johnson Iron-Maidens-for-the-Feet. In my mind I die not because I didn’t have a way out, but because I foolishly chose fashion over function. We miss dear Kristen, but she left this world looking ADORABLE!

3) The Zombie Apocalypse will strike when I am away.

Every single trip, I have the same fear (I blame this on being a Gen-Xer). All I can think is, Gee, I hope the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t start when I’m in CA and away from Hubby, Spawn and all the guns. I know normal people don’t think things like this, but you guys are writers, so you totally understand.

And I know some of you went through this with me right before the NYC trip, but it’s HALLOWEEN! Zombies are a totally appropriate topic, and everyone should be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse anyway. You can laugh now, but if a horde of brainless freaks hit the streets of your town, you will be thinking, I didn’t know the presidential campaign was coming HERE.

Ooops. Inside words stay inside. Zombies don’t like politicians anyway. They’re empty calories.

Where was I? Oh, yes. You will be thankful that weirdos people like me thought this stuff through.

Today I am frantically trying to get as much work done as humanly possible before I leave for the LaJolla Writer’s Conference. I hope some of you, if you’re in the area, can make it. I’m super excited because I get to see one of my fave peeps in the world, James Rollins. AND I get to go all fangirl on Tess Gerritsen. Squeeeeeeeeee! James Rollins and Tess Gerritsen in the SAME PLACE?

I think I have the schmeltz *fans self.*

But of course, it is impossible for me to travel without thinking of the Doomsday Zombie Separated from Home Scenario.

Yes, this is me.

Come on! If the zombies strike LaJolla, then I have to make it cross country, and who knows if the outbreak is contained to just the west coast? And then I have to figure out how to ride a dirt bike and we all know how well that went last time. Then I have to find gluten-free-dairy-free food (I am SO screwed) and stay alive long enough to make it all the way home to TEXAS to rendezvous with Hubby because he is NOT doing this without me!

Hubby and I are way to excited about this…
Be prepared….
You shall not pass, Zombie FREAK!

Am I wrong to be a little freaked out about leaving home? In Texas, I HAVE a plan. We have weapons, ammo, a fallback point and lots of GF food. We can also raid the burned out shells of Central Market, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s as we flee to the ranch. But to leave out of town? I can’t bring nail clippers on a plane, so this presents a new challenge.

This is what always happens in the movies. The protagonist leaves for some innocuous business trip, and that is precisely the moment that some corporation trying to create a new kind of permanent Botox screws up. Then the protagonist is in for a cross-country zombie-fest with only the hope of being reunited with loved ones to cling to.

YES, I do have an overactive imagination. It is why it was better I become a writer than an accountant.

I am a really odd duck. Yes, that’s a nice “shocked face.” Thank you for being polite. No, seriously. I think these things through. I am the person who gives SAS Survival Guides as Christmas gifts and made a note to pick up a copy of Bob’s new survival book once it comes out.

But I am in a bit of a conundrum since the terrorists ruined travel FOREVER. What can I pack in case of the Zombie Apocalypse?

The people in the movies are never prepared, which is why I am then required to shout expletives at the screen to make-believe people who can’t even hear me.

Anyway, since my life is not a movie…yet :D…I’ve had to get creative. Here are my Top 5 TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons. Make it through airport security and rest assured that you will be prepared should the Zombie Apocalypse strike when you are on vacation or business travel, because you just know that an apocalypse never strikes at a convenient time *rolls eyes*. I think AAA and the airlines should give these kinds of travel tips, stuff we can actually use.

Top Five TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons for the Apocalypse 

1. Justin Bieber CDs

Being attacked by a horde of brainless freaks? Play some Justin Bieber and they are guaranteed to start dancing and crying and believing that Justin like seriously like looked right at them! SQUEEEEEEE! This method is guaranteed not only to distract the zombies, but it might even attract some Justin Bieber fans to give the zombies a snack so they aren’t busy chasing you.

The TSA isn’t crazy about Justin Bieber CDs, but they aren’t yet officially listed as weapons of terror.


2. Cheap Hairspray

I would go for the industrial size can if you check a bag, but also at least 40 bottles of the travel size. They are under 2.5 ounces, so the TSA can’t exactly stop you, and if you wear big Texas hair they might not even bat an eye.

Hairspray, of course, is easy to make into a flamethrower, and also to do your hair. Duh.

Everyone has camera phones these days so it is a pretty safe bet that people will be taking pictures of the Zombie Apocalypse. And on any footage captured? Naturally, you want to be looking your best.

3. Bubble Wrap

To the TSA, bubble wrap just looks like you are OCD about packing your stuff and making sure it doesn’t get jacked up. What they don’t realize is bubble wrap can serve as a Zombie Early Warning System. Scaling fences and cars running from mindless monsters can be tiring, so you need to get your rest. Just use the bubble wrap to form a perimeter. When they step on it? The noise can wake you up and then, when they are distracted playing with the bubble wrap–because, seriously who can resist freaking BUBBLE WRAP?—you can bust  cap in their @$$. Not exactly a weapon, but the zombies end up dead–er, so who cares? Close enough.

4. Lady Gaga Meat Dress

It’s like a Ghillie Suit for slaying zombies. Just make sure you wrap this in the bubble wrap to keep it from leaking on your other stuff. And I might advise freezing your meat dress.

Not only will freezing your meat dress keep it fresh for the flight, but wearing freezing cold meat can a) help you stay cool while running for your life b) serve as a cold compress for any injuries you might sustain c) makes excellent body armor d) will keep anyone of the opposite sex from remotely hitting on you, thus preventing the sexual distraction that normally comes before a zombie rips your skull open e) can be used as food until it get’s that greenish slimy look f) but once it does get green, slimy and stinky, you will fit right in with the zombies, thus the Lady GaGa meat dress becomes the perfect zombie camouflage. The downside is the zombies might not eat you, but you could die of e-coli, so make sure to fully cook your meat dress before consumption

The TSA might be iffy on this one. I know we can’t transport produce across state lines, but no one at the airlines would answer my questions about the meat dress. And now my phone is clicking. I think it’s been tapped.

5. A Bag Full of Legos

Need to trip up a pursuer? Toss a bag of Legos on the stairs and listen for the scream. To the TSA agent, you look like a loving family member bringing a child a toy, but little do they know Legos have a dark side and sharp edges.

The Spawn claims it isn’t a mess, it’s preparation.

Well, those are the Top Five TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons.

For me? Back to packing and finding my Spanx. Haven’t worn those since NYC!

Any TSA friendly weapons you would like to add? I have to pack for the potential Zombie Apocalypse LaJolla Writer’s Conference and right now, to be honest, I can’t think much past great shoes for running and hair utensils that can be sharpened to kill. I’d love some additional suggestions to add to the bag.

Do you have weird travel rituals? Do you have a fear of dying and loved ones finding your house a mess? Why would we care anyway?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of November I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.